2023 Update: What We're Doing To Improve
Hello everyone who’s reading this! It’s Tim, CEO/Founder here.
I’ve talked about how 2022 didn’t go the way we wanted it to, and a lot of the problems we’ve encountered. You can read that blog article here or watch the video with a slightly more in depth explanation here
We know that shipping and fulfillment has been a big issue. For those of you who haven’t read or watched the video, the long and short of it is that our third party fulfillment program prioritizes efficiency of batches, rather than first in, first out.
(meanwhile, here's one of our new machines that makes fulfillment way faster)
This is going to be a bit long, so if you’re more interested in naming our new machine up there, then scroll to the bottom to see it in action.
This means that it will frustratingly push orders all the way to the back of the queue every time it runs the algorithm. Yeah, this technically makes things more efficient, but means especially with continued unstable supply chains, orders don’t make it out the way they’re supposed to. Being a third party system, we can only submit support requests.
Unfortunately, both single order picks and swapping from the current system is a long and arduous process that would make things even messier, complicating things even further. We’ve done our best to mitigate things through some backend finangling, so while it’s improved, it’s not perfect, and we’re doing everything we can to get orders through.
As promised in the 2022 recap, I’m once again on the production/fulfillment line. If anyone’s been following our socials, you might’ve seen that there has been a lot of downtime in posting. That’s because in January of 2023, I’ve been pulling full 10 hour shifts in production, often 5 days a week, before taking care of the other businessy things like administration, operations planning, marketing, supply chain, etc, etc I gotta do as well. Social Media kind of gets last priority there...
To be clear: This kind of overwork where I’m sleeping only a few hours a day and working 80+ hours a week is not healthy and should not be admired. This is happening as a consequence of my failures, and so is the end result of taking responsibility for them, rather than passing it onto others.
We’ve had other staff who normally do other function also volunteer to come onto the line to support, like James and Patrick, not only in a physical labor capacity to make more noodles and fulfill more orders, but also to work the technical side to figure out what we can do to bypass the system to prioritize First In, First Out orders.
I’ve also spent the time to further optimize systems by getting new equipment, processes, and tools to increase efficiency and expedite the kind of tasks that drain people’s energy but have to be done, like scrubbing the floors. Could we continue using brooms, squeegees, and other things? Yeah, sure, but instead we invested into a very expensive, but very worth it commercial floor scrubber people can use instead.
...Actually, it was so surprisingly powerful it kind of flew out of my hands the first time I tried it. Whew, really gotta be prepared for it. It’s got safety shutoff features for that reason though!
Overall, I’ve been both working the line and finding ways we can improve things, make them more efficient, and reduce manual effort while increasing productivity. Despite everything, we want to stay true to our beliefs, and don’t want to simply “tell people to work faster and harder”.
It’s easy to do that when things are hard, and it’s what most businesses do. At some level, yes, standards of work have to be upheld-- it’s still work. But harder to do is to believe in your people, and put the money and investment into better machinery and equipment, and spending the time to do the work yourself to find where systems can be improved through planning and processes rather than just brute forcing it.
Anyway, here’s our favorite new machine that saves a huge amount of time and effort by automatically dispensing and crumpling packaging paper that helps protect shipments.
See them in action here: https://youtube.com/shorts/0qzJdBI4Xi8
We were talking about what to name them, and figured, hey, why not let you guys decide instead?
Go to this Twitter Post
Or this Facebook Post
Or this Instagram Post
And put your suggestion there. We’ll choose among the most highly liked and creative names to put up a poll for!
Whew. With all that said, it’s Saturday right now, and I’m going to sign off and take the first weekend I’ve had in more than a month. I want to thank everyone again for their patience and support as we try to make it through these years.
I’ll be monitoring social media as usual, so you can ask any further questions there, comment on the blog post, or show up on my streams or Vite Ramen streams!
Thank you again.